Friends, Virginians, Citizens of Fairfax:
On a hot summer day on July 31, 1619, the first House of Burgesses convened in Virginia. Was it the first democratic assembly in the New World? Likely not. But it is the only democratic assembly which has continued to meet every year since 1619.
From its humble beginnings, a tradition of self-rule began in English-speaking America. Within centuries, this Virginia tradition would be joined by its cousins: freedom of speech and freedom of religion. The world would never be the same.
Today’s America likes to imagine it’s in a crisis. Hyperbole and bellicosity are omnipresent. But the first settlers in Jamestown had real problems. They were surrounded by hostile natives. They had no food. During the starving time, over 80% of the settlers died. Those who survived did so through cannibalism. (The real kind, not the political kind).
Yet they survived. And eventually they created a new nation, which became the envy of the world.
In 1619, the first Africans also appeared in America. They came in slave ships from shores of West Africa. They were pressed into a cruel and barbaric existence, from which they too survived and then thrived. The twin strands of VIrginia’s DNA, like a double helix, thus began its inextricable intertwining.
As for my family, we washed up in Tidewater Virginia, followed pioneer tracks through the Cumberland Gap, then clustered to the suburbs of northern Virginia. All in search of the American dream.
So did I choose to join the 400th anniversary celebration in Jamestown on Tuesday? You’re damn right I did.
Sic semper tyrannis and Wahoowa.
I am proud to be a native of this land.
JCP Notes: I am door-knocking this throughout the 34th District this summer. If you see me on your street, please say hello.
We are collecting donations for the November elections, e.g. to put a new team in power. If that sounds good to you, please donate at www.fairfaxsenator.com.
Let us know how we can represent you better.